Drastic changes at American carmakers have become not only normal, but expected - even encouraged - as the economy and industry worsens. Even GM's CEO Rick Wagoner has stepped down at the behest of President Obama's task force. But so far no U.S. CEOs have been forcibly removed from their position by the company's board of directors, but that's exactly what happened yesterday at Peugeot.

Christian Streiff, Peugeot's former CEO, was removed from the executive's seat and replaced with Philippe Varin, his term to start June 1.

Peugeot explained the decision in a statement, revealing a $460 million net loss last month and the likelihood of operating at a loss until at least 2010. Varin is perceived by the board as a fresh force to help push Peugeot in the right direction, reports Reuters.

"The board unanimously judged that the exceptional difficulties faced by the auto industry imposed a change of management...I am convinced that under Philippe Varin's leadership, the PSA Peugeot Citroen group will be able ... to reveal all its potential," said Peugeot Chairman Thierry Peugeot in a statement.

In the period between Streiff's removal and the start of Varin's term as CEO, Roland Vardanega will captain the Peugeot ship. Varin was previously a 25-year veteran of the aluminum industry.